The factors contributing to auto accidents involving a semi-truck are far different from typical accidents. The circumstances differ from what one would expect in a typical auto accident. However, the legal matters to be sorted out are various as well.These situations require the expert assistance of trained attorneys who know what they are doing. Today, we will look at what a semi-truck accident seems like from a human and legal perspective.
Semi-Truck Accidents Are Tragic
Our modern economy relies on the movement of goods and how it's set up to function. This means that semi-trucks are a necessity for our economy to continue working. However, this also means that there are always a considerable number of semi-trucks on the roads virtually every day and night.
Significant numbers of trucks out on the road mean that there are bound to be many accidents involving those trucks.
This is evidenced by the fact that there are roughly half a million accidents involving large trucks on the road every year. A portion of those accidents are minor and do not contribute to injuries.
However, the danger of a semi-truck crashing into you is significant. The size of semi-trucks makes them more likely to cause injuries or even be fatal than a typical automobile accident.
The typical semi-truck weighs approximately 80,000 pounds when fully loaded (most carriers try to keep things as loaded as possible). Meanwhile, the average passenger vehicle only weighs in at about 3,000 pounds.
There is no question that a passenger vehicle will get smashed into a million pieces if a semi-truck hits it.
Among the Deadliest Types of Accidents
Everyone must know the sobering statistics about the seriousness of semi-truck accidents. If you understand the extreme danger these trucks pose, you will see why you need to be extra cautious around them.
The following are some of the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the dangers of automobile accidents involving semi-trucks:
- Truck crashes account for approximately 20% of all fatal accidents on the road
- More than 30 people die every day due to auto accidents
- There are more than 4 million trucks on US roads at any point in time, according to estimates
- Roughly 1,300 people die every year because of truck accidents
It is challenging to wrap our minds around the sheer level of tragedy that can take place in a truck accident. The physical and economic damages are off the charts compared to a typical auto accident.
This is why some lawyers specialize in this specific area of law. The type of damages that may be sought in court are often much higher than what one could get from a typical auto accident.
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Florida?
According to the latest and most reliable statistics on truck accidents in Florida, an unfortunate trend is underway. This trend is a notable increase in the number of accidents in Florida annually.
Lawyer Monthly pointed to some information about the increase in the frequency of truck accidents in Florida specifically:
Truck accident statistics are even more unsettling. The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents recently increased by over 4% in just one year. Fatalities of those in crashes involving large trucks are up 36% from 2010, and injuries are up 96%.
One sees these types of statistics and must ask themselves what could account for this dramatic jump. Much of the increase comes from Florida rapidly transforming into a transportation and logistics hub.
The state has blossomed into a friendly place for businesses across the board. Logistics and transportation are natural fits because of Florida's geographic location within the country.
Many people are excited about the rapid growth of Florida's transportation and logistics industries. However, there are dangers to this as well.
Much of the spike in truck-related auto accidents is caused by more trucks in Florida. Many trucking and logistics companies base many activities out of the Sunshine State.
It is hardly a surprise that there are more accidents than ever before.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents in Tampa, Florida?
The number of factors that contribute to any particular truck accident out there. These types of accidents are common. There is reliable data on some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
America is facing a massive driver shortage. Many trucking companies desperately hire drivers to move their products to their final destinations.
This has led to an increase in companies hiring inexperienced drivers. There are several reasons why this should never be done.
Companies that choose to move forward with hiring inexperienced drivers anyway (typically out of desperation) will often find that they have more accidents to deal with than they did before.
It is never advised that a driver tries to push their body further than it can naturally go in the service of their job. Some truck drivers say that they feel pressured by the companies they work for to continue driving even when tired.
This should be avoided at all costs. It is hazardous for the driver and those nearby on the road.
The Department of Transportation limits a driver's hours on a given day. However, even if the driver has not technically hit their limit on the number of hours they can move, if they feel drowsy, they should stop driving.
There is a lot of risk to having any driver on the road if they are too tired to carry on. Drivers should listen to their bodies and report to management if they feel too tired to move forward.
Transportation companies have rules against cell phone usage when drivers operate company equipment. Many trucking companies install cameras in their trucks. It is to monitor any potential violations of cell phone usage policies by their drivers.
They must stay on top of this because a distracted driver can easily cause an extremely costly accident. It is never worth it to look at your cell phone while driving. However, many people are guilty of doing precisely that.
Truck drivers are no different from you regarding the temptation of the cell phone. They must be monitored to ensure they are driving in a distracted state.
A massive number of changes to the roads in the Tampa area create a space where logistics companies can operate more easily has also led to a lot of confusion for drivers. They used to be more familiar with the roads.
This confusion might lead to difficulty navigating those new roads. It can quickly lead to a scenario where the driver is in an accident. The best way to avoid this is to learn about the new routes immediately.
Create a way for drivers to let their supervisors know when they are in a situation where they are on unfamiliar and/or dangerous roads.
What Compensation Is Available to Truck Accident Victims in Florida?
The increased risk of a truck accident in Florida should have you on alert for looking at what kind of compensation might be available to you if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate spot of being the victim of a truck accident.
It is undoubtedly the case that you might feel very alone and isolated after a truck accident. You might be physically, emotionally, and even psychologically hurt.
This is why it is so important to have an excellent legal team that can rally around you at a time like this to help you get the required help.
An excellent legal team will work with you to determine what compensation types are available in your case. The forms of payment that you might receive fall into a few categories, including:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
- Potential third-party claims (in the event of a fatality)
Within these categories are several specific damages for which one might seek compensation. We will take a look at a few of these for you today.
There are categories of economic damages that you need to consider. They include:
- Future Medical Costs. It is often the case that truck accident victims require future medical care beyond what they receive immediately after the accident. Since the victim was not responsible for their misfortune, they should not have to pay for these damages. This is why future medical costs are often economic damage sought by those suing a transportation company following an accident.
- Lost Wages. It is often the case that the truck accident victim will have to spend some time out of work. They have been injured, so they cannot simply bounce back and make everything okay. They might seek compensation for the lost wages they did not receive due to their injuries.
- Loss of Future Earnings Capacity - The loss of future earnings is another thing that talented attorneys can pursue you. Your injuries might be so extensive after a semi-truck accident. You may not work in the way that you could before the accident. You might even lose your ability to work in your chosen field forever. Lawyers will go after the responsible party for your future earnings lost due to the accident.
Only some sources of compensation come directly from an economical source that is easy to quantify. Instead, there are also damages that one might sustain in a truck accident that are not as easy to measure.
However, a jury will still be asked to try to put a monetary figure on some of the following:
- Pain and Suffering - The pain that one suffers from a truck accident is not purely physical. That is the most visible part of things. There are other types of pain that one goes through as well. There is the physical and emotional damage that one is likely to sustain when they are dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident. That all deserve to be rolled into the compensation one receives for their truck accident.
- Disfigurement - Some truck accidents leave the victim with scars and other forms of physical damage. Those will become a permanent part of their physical appearance for the rest of their life. The courts recognize that no one would voluntarily choose to have these disfigurements. It is why one can be compensated for a disfigurement that one sustained in the accident.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life - If the aftermath of the accident also makes it difficult or impossible for one to participate in the hobbies and activities that they enjoyed before their accident, that is also something to be looked at by the court. Additional compensation may be available for those who have lost some of their enjoyment of life through no fault of their own.
Put, punitive damages are awarded on top of economic and non-economic damages. The purpose of these damages is to punish wrongdoers and get them to change their behavior moving forward.
They are meant to warn trucking companies to refrain from brushing off regulations or hiring drivers who need to know what they are doing.
They are a way of hitting a company in the wallet. It will up its standards moving forward. No one else has to deal with the negligent behavior of drivers who might never have received proper training.
The final type of compensation that one might receive after a truck accident is a payment that might be paid to one's loved ones. This is because third-party claims only occur when the result of the truck accident is a fatality.
It's vital to know that these types of claims exist and may be accessed by one's surviving loved ones.
- Wrongful Death - Florida law permits surviving loved ones of someone killed in a truck accident to sue the trucking company for wrongful death. They are entitled to receive compensation potentially. It is in the form of a monetary payment for the loss of a loved one. It doesn't bring that person back. However, it is the best remedy the law can offer after such a tragic event.
- Loss of Companionship - Someone who loses a spouse, partner, or close relative can suffer immensely. This is why special provisions allow the surviving individual to include the loss of companionship as something they bring into their lawsuit.
Talented attorneys know about all the compensation forms that can be sought after a truck accident. You should be more specific about which damages apply in your case. Ask your attorney to help explain this to you in great detail.
What Is My Tampa Truck Accident Worth?
As we mentioned earlier, the variety of truck accidents in Tampa is rising. This means that it is the case that there will be a range of expected compensation amounts based on the specifics of a given accident.
Liability is a thing to think about in this incident. It significantly affects how much of a settlement a trucking company will likely be willing to pay you. If their liability in the incident is relatively high, you might expect them to offer a more significant settlement than expected.
They will measure the pros and cons of different potential offers that they can make. These are based on the risk they believe they might have in this incident.
The accident's severity and the injuries you sustained are also critical.
The direct damage from an incident like this is significant. It relates to the amount of compensation that you can receive.
There isn't a trucking company out there that will want to take on the liability and responsibility of potentially taking a significant accident case to a courtroom if they can avoid it.
Instead, they will likely offer you a quick settlement, mainly if your injuries are extensive.
The chance for punitive damages in your case is another thing. The trucking company on the other side of your case will look at it very carefully. They do NOT want to get themselves entangled in a case they feel they are likely to have to pay out a significant amount in punitive damages.
That is not worthwhile to them and could even be a danger to their bottom line. Instead, they will often offer a settlement in those cases as well. The bottom line on the value of truck accidents in Tampa is that they vary based on the specific factors related to the case.
The average semi-truck accident will have a larger payout attached to it than the typical passenger vehicle accident. There is a more substantial likelihood of someone sustaining severe injuries in a truck accident.
It's noteworthy when considering the value of a potential truck accident lawsuit.
Who Could Be Liable for My Semi-Truck Accident in Tampa?
It is scary to think about yourself being under the gun regarding liability in a truck accident in Tampa.
These cases might involve major cash settlements and payouts, and most people need more money to care for something like this.
A negligent truck driver might be the target of at least some liability in a semi-truck accident in Tampa, but they are not likely to be the only party with something to worry about in these cases.
In most Tampa truck accident cases, the liability for the accident is often shared between the driver and the driver's company.
The company often takes the bulk of the liability on its shoulders because the courts recognize that the companies have the resources to make good on a settlement or compensation payout.
They understand that the average driver does not. This means that at the end of the day, there is potential for joint liability between the driver and the company they work for. While the company might be on the hook for most liability, drivers should not take this for granted.
They are encouraged to engage in safe driving practices constantly. Also, drivers should immediately seek legal assistance after they are involved in an accident. It could help them protect their rights if they feel they might be in danger due to a lawsuit.
What If I'm Blamed for a Truck Accident in Florida?
A few things that anyone should do immediately after being involved in a truck accident. The first and most important thing to do is seek immediate medical attention for yourself and anyone interested in the accident.
Addressing injuries in a truck accident is essential to keep everyone safe and avoid making the situation any worse than it already is. Remember, some injuries might not be readily apparent at the accident scene.
Even if you feel like you have not been injured, you should still seek a doctor's professional opinion to confirm this is the case. The last thing you want to do is make an assumption about your injuries and be wrong.
After receiving medical attention and being in stable condition, you should contact an attorney immediately. If you are the truck driver, your company may offer to provide an in-house attorney.
You can consider this, but remember that those attorneys will always have the company's interest as their top priority. It might make more sense to seek out your independent lawyer to offer you advice that is unbiased in any way.
If you are blamed for a truck accident, it is essential to have robust legal representation to back you up. Just because someone says you are to blame for an incident doesn't mean it is necessarily true.
Everyone is entitled to their day in court, and you need it to be fair to you. The risk of being on the hook for significant damage is high if you don't get a reasonable attorney immediately.
Make sure that you only speak through your attorney during this entire process. It might be tempting to speak on your behalf, but this should be avoided.
You risk saying something that might be used against you in court later. Stay silent for now, and allow your attorney to speak on your behalf when it is called for.
How Long Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Truck Accident in Florida?
Every state writes laws related to the statute of limitations that apply in some instances, including personal injury and truck accident cases. In Florida, the statute of limitations is a very good four years from the date of the incident.
This is a more generous timeframe than what most other states offer. It is far more common to hear of a two-year statute of limitations. However, Florida law recognizes how long victims can take to get their bearings to file this lawsuit.
Just because you have four years to file your lawsuit does NOT mean you should wait until the last minute. The problem is that an attorney can only guarantee that they can file the case under the wire if you wait too long.
It might take as much as six months to a year to do all of the preliminary work that an attorney needs to do to proceed with a lawsuit.
If your attorney fears that the statute of limitations will expire before they can take all the necessary steps, they will likely decline to handle your case.
It is highly recommended that anyone who feels that they have a case to bring to the court reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after their truck accident. Once they are medically stable enough to reach out to an attorney, they should do so.
There is no benefit to waiting until too close to the statute of limitations deadline. Allow your attorney the time to do their work effectively to give you the best shot at winning your case or receiving a settlement.
Contact an Attorney Today
There is no time to waste after you are involved in a truck accident. This is true if you are the victim or the accused. Either way, you need to get in touch with an attorney who knows how to go to war in these types of cases.
You deserve that kind of aggressive representation to defend your position in court and seek the best possible outcome. The Florida statute of limitations is generous compared to many other states, but keep that from lulling you into doing anything.
You need to respond by contacting an attorney who can help immediately. This might mean searching for a while until you can find someone with that you are comfortable and that has the experience and time to handle your case.
Speak with as many attorneys as necessary until you find one right. The value of your case might be pervasive, but that will only be known once you have an attorney review every piece of information from your point of view and make a judgment about what they can do to assist you in getting it settled the way you need it to be.
Going through something as complex as a truck accident will likely impact the rest of your life. An attorney can help you with the financial aspects of dealing with something like this.
They can work with you to get the results that you need from the court. You have a legal right to pursue damages for what has happened to you, and you deserve to use that right.
Make the call today to get set up with a free consultation where an attorney can go over the general outline of your case with you.
Based on that discussion, the following steps can be determined, and you can begin getting the compensation you deserve.